Monday, September 30, 2013

Rainbow Drop-In Story Time, 9/27/13

 Rainbow Drop-In Story Time, 9/27/13

Friday morning's session was my last drop-in story time before my resignation goes into effect on October 4. Though I am excited for my next chapter in life as a stay at home mom, it was still bittersweet to realize I was doing all of these familiar things for the last time. The theme was colors, and to keep the kids interested, I hid each book behind its corresponding color until it was time to read. Maybe it was because they knew it was my last one, but this group was respectful and quiet, and  they actually listened to every book and participated in every song and rhyme. I'm glad to have ended on such a high note.

Song with ukulele: I Can Sing a Rainbow  
I practiced and practiced this song, but then got nervous and didn't perform it as well as I would have liked. Still, I am proud of myself for trying since it was probably the most complicated song I've tried playing in story time, and it was my last chance to give it a shot!

Book: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
I have had mixed results with this book over the years, but today it ended up being a great choice. 

Song: Bumpin’ Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon
I have always liked this song, and the kids got really into the motions. 

Book: Little Green by Keith Baker
I wasn't sure about this book, but I decided to try it and I was glad I did. This seemed to be the book with which the kids were most engaged.

Song with Puppet: I’m a Little Green Frog 
I almost forgot the words to this song, but once I got started, they just kind of came back to me. This is the advantage of doing story time multiple times a week for three years  - some things become second nature!

Book: Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting
This book seemed longer than it actually is, which is never a good sign. No one seemed to like it that much, even though I put as much personality into the reading as possible. It's not a good a story time book as I guessed.

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: This is NOT a Pumpkin by Bob Staake
Since I won't be here for Halloween, I wanted to sneak in just one favorite pumpkin book. I originally intended to tell it with a prop, but decided against it when I realized I had taken all my flannel board pieces home and didn't want to bring just one item back. No one seemed to get the punchline, which was too bad, because they were all paying attention and it usually gets a big laugh. Maybe it's just too early for jack o'lanterns. 

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun 
This has kind of become my signature song. I will miss the sun puppet - hopefully, I'll be able to buy or make one of my own! 

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Song: Chickadee
I asked the group to sing this with me because it's one of my favorite story time songs. No one was that into it, which was a disappointment, but I couldn't resist singing it one last time. 

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fun with Nursery Rhymes Preschool Story Time, 9/20/13

Fun with Nursery Rhymes Preschool Story Time, 9/20/13

I originally wanted to do fairy tales as my theme for this story time, because it's one of my favorite  themes, and my story time opportunities are winding down. But I realized that a lot of fairy tales are way too long for read-alouds, and that a lot of the read-aloud-friendly ones were checked out and couldn't get here in time from other branches. So... I opted to focus on fun retellings of nursery rhymes instead, figuring the kids would be more familiar with the originals and would "get" the jokes. For the most part, this was true, and it would have been an even better theme to use with a slightly older (Pre-K/K) group. 

Poem: Little Boy Blue, Please Cover Your Nose
I found this poem months ago, and I never had a chance  to use it. I probably wouldn't have thrown it in here, either, ordinarily, but since this was my second-to-last preschool story time, I decided to go for it. (The kids didn't get it at all.)

Book: Mary Had a Little Lamp by Jack Lechner
I thought this was funny, but the parents clearly didn't get the humor and gave me funny looks. The kids seemed a little bit into it with some prompting, but overall, it was not the strong opener I had hoped for. 

Book: Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop by Lisa Shulman
We sang this book, and made motions for each tool, which the kids absolutely loved! 

Song: The Seals on the Bus (from the book by Lenny Hort)
I put some clipart images on the iPad for this song (because we apparently don't have our copy of the book anymore), and had the kids call out the animal names and help me make their sounds. It was a huge hit, and everyone in the  room - four kids, and three adults - sang along! 

Book: There Was an Old Monster by Rebecca Emberley
This book was well-received, even though the youngest preschooler in the group (age 3) got restless and began roaming as I was reading.

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider 
We sang this song just as a warm-up to the last book. The kids were surprisingly into it.

Book: The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out by Troy Cummings
This book didn't feel long to me until I was halfway through reading it to the kids. Then I realized it really should have been the first book in the session.  It wasn't a total flop, but it was a bit long for a last book.

Coloring Page: Spider
The kids were very creative with their spiders - lots of rainbow legs and two-toned bodies!

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fun with Nursery Rhymes Drop-In Story Time, 9/20/13

 Fun with Nursery Rhymes Drop-In Story Time, 9/20/13

This group is never completely silent, and never totally responsive, so it's often hard to gauge the success of a particular set of activities just by their reaction. Throughout the room, I noticed pockets of engaged kids and distracted ones, quiet nannies and chatty ones, and there were moments where I don't think anyone was really listening to me. Still, though, this set of books and songs is a keeper. 

Song with ukulele: Nursery Rhyme Rap
We sang the ABCs as the chorus for this song, and each verse was one of the nursery rhymes for which I had a book version.

Book: Hickory Dickory Dock by Keith Baker
I had a bad experience with this book early on in my tenure at this library (so long ago, that it's not even in this blog, or on Goodreads), but I don't think it was the book's fault. Today's reading was much better received, and even though the text is a bit on the long side, most of  the kids were with me until the end. 

Song: Go In and Out the Window
I like this song, and I came up with some basic motions that even the smallest kids can do so that everyone could participate. We sang all three verse twice through.

Book: To Market To Market by Anne Miranda
One nanny was very excited to discover this book, and she checked it out at the end of story time. I tried to make it interactive by asking everyone to make animal sounds with me, but that didn't really catch on.

Song with stick puppets: Mary Had a Little Lamb
The preschoolers like to call out the names of colors, so this song - where Mary has various lambs of assorted colors - is always a hit.

Book: Row Row Row Your Boat by Iza Trapani
The adults pay better attention when I sing, so I sang this entire book. They seemed confused by the new verses, even though I warned them they would be different.

Rhyme with Cow Puppet: Hey Diddle Diddle

Book: 1 2 Buckle My Shoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines

Song: I’m a Little Teapot
Since this was my second-to-last story time, and this song is an old favorite of this group, I decided to sing it at least one more time. The kids were really into it, so we sang it three times.

Songs with ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Elementary School Story Time Celebrating Ezra Jack Keats, 9/18/13

Elementary School Story Time Celebrating Ezra Jack Keats

When no one showed up to my last-ever Read-Along Story Time, I decided to put one more school-aged story time on the calendar before my departure from the library. I chose to focus on Ezra Jack Keats because his books are kind of in a weird spot in our collection where they don't get much attention, and because I knew we had some Weston Woods DVDs of his books that would be fun to show. I was disappointed once again because only five kids came to the program, and only one in the target age range, but the kids who did come seemed to enjoy it, and I will remember this story time plan in the hopes of using it again whenever I return to the library world.

Introduction to Ezra Jack Keats and his Characters: I opened story time by showing the kids a picture of Ezra Jack Keats from Keats's Neighborhood. Since the kids were a lot younger than I expected, I only briefly mentioned that he is no longer living, and that he used collages to illustrate his books. Then I used the iPad to show pictures of the four characters we'd be focusing on and gave a brief description of each one. 

Book: Jennie's Hat by Ezra Jack Keats
The younger girls in the room- maybe ages 2, 4, and 5 - were really into this book, but they wouldn't really talk to me about it after the fact.

Book: Louie by Ezra Jack Keats
I couldn't tell how well this book resonated with the kids, but I really enjoyed seeing Louie, who is somewhat shy and down in the dumps, receive a surprise gift from the other kids in the neighborhood.

Book: Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats
I wanted this book to serve as an interactive movement activity, but because of the small group and the fact that they seemed shy, I opted to just sing it to them instead.

Book: Maggie and the Pirate by Ezra Jack Keats
The kids got really into this one - possibly because of the mystery elements. They were not bothered by the cricket's death, and they seemed really invested in Maggie's story from beginning to end.  

Weston Woods Videos: The Snowy Day and Whistle for Willie
I wanted to choose different stories, but our DVD player no longer has a remote so I could only play from the beginning. Therefore, we watched the first two stories on the disc.

Coloring Activity:  Jennie, Louie, Maggie, and Peter
I had some trouble coming up with a coloring activity, and ultimately decided to create my own, focusing on the characters, instead of on Keats's artwork. I divided a page into four sections and asked the kids to design a hat like Jennie's, decorate a puppet for Louie, catch a bug for Maggie and build a snowman with Peter. Hardly anyone stayed long enough to actually get the coloring sheet, but I think it would have been a great activity for some of the first and second graders if they had come.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Road Trip! Preschool Story Time, 9/6/13

 Road Trip! Preschool Story Time, 9/6/13

Two brothers, ages five and two, were the only kids at this story time (possibly because of the absolutely beautiful weather), but we still had fun! 

Book: Round Trip by Ann Jonas
I wouldn't use this book with a big group of preschoolers, but since there were only two kids, I gave it a try. The neat thing is that the first half of the story - the ride to the destination - is told going in one direction, then you have to turn the book over  to go back home again. I wouldn't say the kids loved it, and their mom looked at me like I was nuts, but I don't regret trying it out. I'd also consider trying it again with an elementary audience. 

Book: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
This much more straightforward book went over much better, though it is still pretty quiet and the kids didn't have much of a reaction to it.

Book: In the Driver's Seat by Max Haynes
This book was a big hit! I asked the older brother to act it out with me, and he did a great job turning his pretend steering wheel and making engine sounds.

White Board Story: The Bus for Gus (based on The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom)
I drew a little roadway scene on the dry erase wall, and put up vehicles one at a time, asking whether they were a bus for Gus. It would have been more fun with more kids, but these guys still enjoyed it.

Book: Let’s Go For a Drive by Mo Willems
Another huge hit. This was the best book of the entire story time, and I think part of that was because I got really into my performance.

Coloring Page: Along the Street
It turned out the boys' street had just been paved on Friday morning  so that inspired their coloring. The older brother drew a street covered in blacktop, then left just a little brown spot to show where the old road had been. Love it.

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Off We Go! Drop-In Story Time, 9/6/13

Off We Go! Drop-In Story Time, 9/6/13

Song with Ukulele: Down by the Station 
The verses of this song that I sang at this story time came from the book version by Jennifer Vetter. I asked the kids to name each mode of transportation before we sang each verse. 

Book: Window Music by Anastasia Suen
I stopped using this book for a while, but it was the right amount of text for this antsy group, so I gave it another shot. The kids seemed interested in it, and I did my best to help them understand that the "window music" was the scenery going by outside the rain.

Rhyme: Here is the Engine
This is a decent fingerplay, and a great alternative to songs when you don't want to sing the entire story time.

Book: The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom
I opted for this book over School Bus by Donald Crews because I hoped the interactive element might engage the kids a bit more (and I already had a . Some of the kids did answer me when I asked if each vehicle was a bus, but most were a bit young for that. 

Song: The Wheels on the Bus
This song brought down the house, partly because I haven't been using it.

Book: Harbor by Donald Crews
I found this Donald Crews gem in the non-fiction section and decided to try it out instead of Sail Away. I think I'd go back to Sail Away next time, but this was a nice opportunity to introduce some new vocabulary, and a couple of the preschool boys crept up to the front of the room to get a closer look at the pictures.

Song: Sailing Out to Sea in My Number One Sailboat
This song bombed because the kids didn't know their numbers. Most of the time, two- and three-year-olds eagerly shout out the numbers with me, but this was a younger crowd than normal.

Book: I Love Planes by Philemon Sturges
This went over well, probably because it wasn't very wordy and it had some rhyming. I like the moment near the end when it is revealed that the boy's mother is in space.

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Song: Mr. Sun

Songs with Ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Flannel Friday: Hippos in Hats

The highlight of my summer programs this year was my Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers. Though this story time had been happening since January, I really feel like I hit my stride with it in July and August, and I especially enjoyed creating literacy games for the kids to play. To my great disappointment, nobody came to the last session of the season, so I wound up with one game that I didn't get to use. It's called Hippos in Hats, and it explores consonant digraphs containing the letter H. (I had planned a letter H-themed story time, which is where the inspiration came from.)

To play, you need two sets of pieces: hippos labeled with words containing the letter combinations sh, th, ch, ph, and wh and hats labeled with those same letter combinations. The object is to match each hippo to the correct hat based on which digraph the word contains. I color-coded the hats to make it a little bit easier to tell the digraphs apart, but the hippos all look the same.

Here is a hippo labeled with the word "when," who gets a "wh" hat.

This hippo's face reads "phone" so he gets a green "ph" hat.

This hippo's word is "chat", so she's wearing a red "ch" hat. 

If I were sharing this at story time, I'd have the piles of hats set out where the kids could see them and I'd show the kids one hippo at a time. Depending on the size of the group, I might let the kids choose a hippo from a basket or bag to get them more engaged. If I trusted the pieces not to disappear, I'd also love to set this up as a station for kids to play with on their own outside of a formal story time setting. Though this version of the game is designed for beginning readers up to age 8, it would be easy to simplify for a preschool audience. Instead of matching words to the digraphs they could contain, kids could match words to their first letter, or even uppercase letters to their lowercase counterparts. 

I am this week's Flannel Friday host! You can leave your links here, and they will be included in the final round-up, to be posted no later than Saturday afternoon. For more information on how to participate in Flannel Friday, visit the official website.

Flannel Friday Round-Up, 9/6/13

Welcome to your Flannel Friday Round-Up for September 6, 2013!

First off, I'd like to welcome a Flannel Friday first-timer into the fold! Christine at Felt Board Ideas shares her flannel board adaptation of 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. Thanks for joining the fun, Christine!

If you're planning a story time about apples in the next few weeks, then Lisa, Kathryn, and Kristie have you covered with a variety of fun activities. Lisa at Libraryland shares her version of Way Up High in the Apple Tree, where the pieces stick to a handy glove, and as a bonus, she shows off an adorable apple-themed craft with an accompanying rhyme about a wiggly worm. At Fun with Friends at Story Time, Kathryn presents several apple activities, including an apple-themed version of BINGO, an original rhyme for counting by twos, and an apple tree hand puppet. Inspired by Anna at Future Librarian Superhero, Kristie of Let the Wild Rumpus Start shares her version of Five Apples in a Basket.

Bridget at What is Bridget Reading? is also counting to five, but with those silly monkeys who always tease Mr Alligator.  She also shares a monkey fingerplay she recently found through Perry Public Library. 

At SLC Book Boy, sdbahlmann presents Nick Sharratt's Shark in the Park, which he cut out of cardstock and presented on an overhead projector.

Mollie of What Happens in Story Time... made an adorable flannel set for a rhyme called Pea Soup, which I found a long time ago and then never used.

Tara of Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends introduces us to a puppet version of Crispin, the dragon from Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el, and shares the rest of her dragon-themed story time as well. 

As other Flannel Friday participants have done, Lisa from Thrive After Three shows off her story time space this week, and explains how she sets it up for each of her groups.

Cate from Storytiming sings the praises of Sarah Silverman's interactive, video-based app, Uncle Sarah, and shares how she has used it in story time. 

At Piper Loves the Library, Jane shares how she used sheep to cure a meltdown in the doctor's office waiting room and then shows off her flannel sheep, including one who is sheared! 

Lastly, I'm Katie, and my post here at Story Time Secrets is a literacy game designed for beginning reader story time called Hippos in Hats, which explores consonant digraphs containing the letter H.

Next week, Flannel Friday will be hosted by Bridget. Don't forget - you can also follow Flannel Friday on Pinterest and Facebook, as well as at the official website. Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pink & Purple Preschool Story Time, 8/30/13

Pink & Purple Preschool Story Time, 8/30/13

I planned a version of this story time back in May and it was a week where no one showed up, so I held onto the books and brought it back out again on Friday. There were only five kids, as this was the first Friday of the school year and the Friday before Labor Day, but it was still a success.

Book: The Pink Refrigerator by Tim Egan
This is such an interesting book about how a magic refrigerator helps Dodsworth discover all the things there are to explore in life. It's a long one, and I wasn't sure how they'd do, but the kids were completely hooked. This would make a great read-aloud for class visits, too - up to second grade or so.

Book: Milo Armadillo by Jan Fearnley
This was a shorter, sweeter story, and the kids were obviously emotionally invested in it, as their little faces changed considerably as the story grew happy, then sad, then happy again. 

Activity: Acting Out Pink and Purple Things
My preschool audiences tend not to respond to music, so I like to have them act things out instead. I made little slips of paper with either a pink or purple squiggle on them, then pulled them out of a brown paper bag one at a time. I had the kids help me name the colors, then we acted out each motion together. I was surprised at how well it went over, as this was a quiet group. The actions I had in the bag are below:
  • eat a purple grape popsicle
  • climb a purple mountain
  • act like a purple monster
  • color with a purple crayon
  • spread purple jam on bread
  • stand like a pink flamingo
  • chew pink bubble gum
  • oink like a pink pig
  • sip pink lemonade
  • smell pink roses
Flannel Board Story: Purple Little Bird
I have never seen this book, but Katie's post at Recipes for Reading (linked above) gave me enough to go on to tell my own version of the story. The kids were pretty into it, and willing to name the animals and colors, even though they were otherwise shy.

Book: Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
This is a long book to read last, and I sort of lost some of the kids, but Henkes is so much fun to read aloud.

Craft: Pink & Purple Coloring Activity
I put out various writing implements in pink and purple and some pink dot stickers and the kids all made different designs with them on plain white paper. One little boy refused to color, possibly because of the color choices, and got into a fight with his nanny, but the other three girls and one boy had a great time.

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In the Trees Drop-In Story Time, 8/30/13

 In the Trees Drop-In Story Time, 8/30/13

This story time was fun to set up. I drew four trees on the whiteboard then placed a clipart image on each one to indicate what type of tree it was. I introduced each tree with a song, then read a book to go along with each one.

Song with Ukulele: Here We Go 'Round the Apple Tree
We sang four verses of this song, which goes like this:

Here we go round  the apple tree, the apple tree, the apple tree
Here we go round the apple tree gathering the apples!

We gathered leaves from the maple tree and acorns from the big oak tree.

Book: The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
I was disappointed by how little they paid attention to books in general, in this session. This book had almost everyone's attention, but it kind of unraveled from there.

Rhyme: Way Up High in the Apple Tree
The kids got really into this, and some of them seemed to remember the words!

Book: The Red Lemon by Bob Staake
I chose this book because it rhymed, and made the conscious decision to cut out a lot of the text on the red page because I thought the group would be antsy. Unfortunately, even the shortened version didn't really seem to grab anyone this morning. 

Rhyme: Lemons in the Bowl
This was a new rhyme and I really liked how it went over. It might have gone on a little long for the babies, but the bigger kids were with me right to the end.

Book: Red Leaf Yellow Leaf  by Lois Ehlert
I am hereby retiring all Lois Ehlert books from story time. I don't like them, and the kids don't seem to "get" her illustrations.

Song: The Trees Are Growing Tall
The kids were great at showing me how tall their trees could grow, and touching their toes when it was time to sing about roots.

Book: The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
I tried to get the grown-ups to join me on the refrain of this book, and to make all the animal sounds, but they pretty much just tuned me out.

Song: Brown Squirrel, Brown Squirrel
We pretended to be brown squirrels, then gray squirrels.

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun 

Song with Ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.
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